business news in context, analysis with attitude

David McInerney, the co-founder and CEO of e-grocery pioneer FreshDirect, which was acquired by Ahold Delhaize earlier this year, is stepping down from the company.

“FreshDirect has been an amazing, life-changing, 20-year adventure for me,” McInerney said in a prepared statement. “I have been so fortunate to have worked alongside an incredible team of talented, dedicated people who all share the same passion for our mission: to make great fresh food easy to get. Our amazing farmers, ranchers and fishermen have inspired me every day as partners, teachers and true friends. With the commitment and support of Frans [Muller, Ahold Delhaize CEO], Farhan and the entire Ahold Delhaize team, FreshDirect is in excellent hands and well-positioned for continued success.”

McInerney, who will remain as an advisor for several months, will be succeeded on an interim basis by Farhan Siddiqi, chief digital officer of Ahold Delhaize.  A search for a permanent successor will be conducted.

KC's View:

I've said from the moment that the acquisition was announced - Ahold Delhaize bought 80 percent of the company and private equity firm Centerbridge Partners got the balance, for financial terms that were not disclosed - that the key to it being successful would be Ahold Delhaize respecting the FreshDirect culture and understanding that it has at least as much to learn from the brand as it had to offer it.

Losing such an important link to the FreshDirect's history and foundation does not make me feel more optimistic about the brand's future.